Efe Ajagba Ready To Break Into Top 10 Contention
Thursday afternoon in Verona, NY, Top Rank Boxing held the final press conference for their debut fight card of 2023 featuring heavyweight Efe Ajagba back in action against unbeaten, Stephan Shaw in the main event.
The main event fight card will air on ESPN Saturday night from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino,
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) January 12, 2023
From the Top Rank release,
“In the 10-round main event, thunderous puncher Efe Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs) looks upend the unbeaten run of St. Louis native Stephan “Big Shot” Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs).
The 10-round co-feature sees 2016 Italian Olympian Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello (10-0-1, 9 KOs) stepping up against noted spoiler Jonnie Rice (15-6-1, 10 KOs). Ajagba-Shaw and Vianello-Rice will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m ET/7 p.m. PT.
“I have the name ‘The Silent Roller’ because I don’t talk much. Since I came back from my surgery, I’ve tried to do everything to fight more. That’s why I only had one fight last year. I’ve been trying to get more fights,” Ajagba said Thursday.
“I’ve made adjustments for Saturday night. We’ll see how it goes. I’m ready for him. I wanted to fight Oscar Rivas before. But that changed. But now Shaw has the opportunity to fight me.”
“I’m ready to put on a show. I’m going to put more pressure. I can’t wait. I’m so excited to be here.”
As for the new challenger, Shaw he said Thursday,
“I want to thank God for giving me this opportunity. To have that pedigree behind me—that carries me. That’s my foundation, and I go off that. St. Louis has a rich history of boxing. And I feel like right now I’m the pride of St. Louis. I’m looking to continue that legacy of having great world champions represent St. Louis, Missouri.”
“I’ve got God on my side. God makes all the situations that I have faced in my entire career and He has made it work. I have faced adversity that the average man wouldn’t be able to deal with. Coming from St. Louis, beating the odds and being on this stage to have my moment. I feel great. I’m excited.”
Vianello was to have fought Shaw in the co-feature fight, however, once Oscar Rivas suffered an eye injury in training last month, Shaw was elevated to fight Ajagba.
Rice is an intriguing opponent for the unbeaten Italian, as he pulled two upsets over Michael Coffee by TKO in July 2021 on a PBC/Fox Sports card and then, won their rematch on January 1st by impressive 10 round decision.
The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:3-0 p.m. PT — features a 50/50 junior lightweight bout between contenders Abraham “El Super” Nova (21-1, 15 KOs) and Adam “BluNose” Lopez (16-3, 6 KOs), upstate New York-born junior welterweight prospect Bryce Mills (10-1, 4 KOs), and Brooklyn-born featherweight sensation Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (5-0, 3 KOs).